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ABC Your Positive Life with this Gratitude Starter List

SpringInspiration

If you are anything like me, you can fall into a funk with keep a positive life all of the time. Things happen that can cause stress in your life which can lead to negative thoughts. It can be easy for your mind to get distracted by negative thoughts and forget everything we should be grateful for.

The other funk I fall into is being grateful for the same things over and over. Yes, I am thankful for my house, my children, my husband, my family etc… you get where I am going with this. Now, it is time to find the details of those general things that I am grateful for not just my kids, etc.

One way that helps me sort through these funks is to use my ABC list. This allows my brain to open up and think outside of the box for the things that I am grateful for in my life. Some of the letters make me get very creative which helps in exercising my brain as well.

Such as… A: I am grateful for apples and that my baby girl is big enough to start eating applesauce now.

You can start off with one letter a day or a few at a time. You can go in order or skip around. In the end all that matters is that you are working on your positive life and gratitude towards what is in your life.

I created the sheets in yellow and purple to brighten your day while you write, the first link is the pdf to download, the second is a jpg:

Yellow ABC’s of Gratitude

ABC's of Gratitude

Purple ABC’s of Gratitude

ABC's of Gratitude (1)

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Thankful For Starting My Day with Baby Smiles

Thankful for starting my day with baby smiles

Wow that title is a mouthful!! When I a thinking about what to write about today, all I could focus on was the smiles that Evie was giving me as she was waiting for me to finish pumping. That is the perfect topic for Thankful Thursday!

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Did you know that the first facial expression a baby has is a smile. Usually they start in the womb and have no meaning. Once a baby smiles because they are happy that is the best feeling in the world.

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The best way to start my day is seeing my baby girl look at me and smile. Evie and I start our day with singing a special good morning song that I made up for her. As soon as I start singing it, the smile on her face is just amazing. That smile is as big as her face and just beautiful. Who knew that someone would smile at the sound of my crappy singing voice?!

Smiles are contagious. Actually, smiles are more contagious than the flu! When someone, young or old, smiles you can’t help but to smile back at them. It takes more effort to not smile back.

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Looking for a promotion at work? Smile more! Studies show that smiling more at work makes an employer more likely to promote you over someone who rarely smiles. This shows that you love what you do and that you have passion for the company you work for. Smiling makes you look more successful at work and in life.

Try to force yourself to smile when you are upset and watch your mood elevate. When you smile it can feel like all your problems melt away for that moment. Use up to 53 muscles to smile so you can bring your mood up, exercise your face and reduce your blood pressure all at the same time!

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No matter where in the world you go, a smile is intercultural. You can look at someone and say hello with a smile, no language interpreter needed! This is because a smile means happiness…. everywhere in the world!

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Smiling Fun Facts:

  1. The average woman smiles 62 times a day
  2. The average man smiles 8 times a day
  3. 63% of women say they look best in photos where their teeth are showing
  4. 99.7% of people say that an attractive smile is an important personal asset
  5. 74% of people believe a bad smile can hurt their chances for a successful career
  6. A dog smiles by wagging their tail
  7. There are 19 different types of smiles!

Take the time to smile today!

 

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Struggling With My Gratitude

Struggling with My Gratitude

With everything that has occurred this year, I have been struggling with my gratitude and thankfulness, hence the many missing Thankful Thursday posts. It has become difficult to be grateful when I am so angry at so many people and at the Universe.

Don’t get me wrong, I am grateful for my kids and supportive family and friends through these difficult times. The problem is that I draw a blank when I think about what I am grateful for in my life. I will find something I am grateful for and then think about what I don’t have or how I got screwed out of something related to this grateful thing, and I am back to being angry again.

This mindset of anger has effected every aspect of my life where I am not striving to be the best I can be. My business has been slow going because I feel like I just run out of time to do anything. Instead of doing what I need to do, my mind wanders and before I know it I have been thinking and engrossing myself for over an hour. Poof that time I had while the baby is sleeping is now gone and I can’t get it back. The rift in my already damaged marriage is just increasing in size because if I can’t control my anger towards things then I can’t be in a good place to work on bridging the gap. Even my poor supportive friends are being neglected because I know that when I speak, all I do is spew negativity so I have just stopped talking at all. The only ones that I have tried to protect from my ungratefulness is my children because no matter what they are my main priority in life and I don’t want them to feel my anger.

This all means that I need to go back to the beginning and work on myself. I need to make working on my self care and self love a priority because dwelling on my anger is only bringing myself and everyone around me down.

My top 5 things to help me work on my self care:

  1. Write and recite daily affirmations
  2. Write 5 things I am grateful for every night, even when I am not feeling grateful
  3. Listen to/Read the Secret and my other go to self care books
  4. Write out my feelings in my journal, even if it is multiple times a day
  5. Give myself time to love myself

In the past, I have gone through these periods which were triggered by a stress factor and in the past few months since Evelynne was born there has been multiple stressors. I know I can’t beat myself up for needing to start over in my self care journey (trust me I have been beating myself up for months now) because I am only human. As humans, we will go forward and have our setbacks but that is what makes us grow mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

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Do you have any tips to get out of your funk and back to self care?

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Thankful for My Healthy Baby

Thankful for my healthy baby girlAs Evelynne turns 2 months today, I am thankful for our healthy baby girl. Our dear, sweet Evie was a miracle, our rare unicorn because I had a hard time keeping a pregnancy to stick. Before Evie’s pregnancy I had miscarriages and was told that as I age, the harder it was going to be to get a pregnancy to stick. When the lines appeared that I was pregnant, I was skeptical and assumed I would miscarry again.

Every week that we gained, I became a little more excited that this baby would stick. We reached 16 weeks and the doctors started me on a shot to help prevent preterm delivery which I had with both my oldest 2 kids. I began contracting at 17 weeks and put on bedrest. Every week until she reached 24 weeks was a blessing because we needed her to be at least 24 weeks to be delivered and have a chance at survival. My baby girl lasted until 39 weeks!

In my baby mom group, there is the sweetest little boy that is struggling for his life. He was born premature with complications. When he was born, the doctors told the parents he wouldn’t survive more then a few days and that was in October. My heart broke for her as she struggled with this news but that little boy has proved those doctors wrong because today is March 1st and he is still with his mom and dad. Recently, his parents were told he has a heart condition which normally could have surgery to correct and help it but due to his size and condition, they refused to do the surgery. The doctors told the parents that the baby wouldn’t survive. I have cried reading the updates from his mom because I couldn’t image going through this with my kids.

I have seen other parents struggle with diseases their children are suffering from either from knowing them personally, reading their stories on the internet or watching a heart wrenching movie based on their story. This morning, I was participating in my blog sharing with other bloggers and someone posted a video of a little girl making the best of her life though she lives with a rare disease. These kids and families are so strong and inspiring for other to be grateful for everything they have in their lives, especially their health.

In a world filled with scary situations, diseases and people, I am holding my children a little tighter because they are safe and healthy. Today and everyday, I am so grateful that my Evie was born healthy and has continued to stay healthy. I am thankful for the smiles and coos that she gives us. I am thankful for the joy she brings to every moment of everyday for the past 2 months. My baby girl is getting so big so fast!

Please say an extra Prayer for Baby Braydon today because he can use every prayer right now.

Thankful for my HealthyBaby

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I Found Christina to My Meredith

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Have you ever met someone and instantly knew that you were meant to have that person in your life? I don’t mean a romantic partner but your person, your friend that is meant to be in your life. Yes, you will hear all kinds of Grey’s Anatomyreferences in this post because we both love Grey’s. I found the Christina to my Meredith and I am so thankful for her being in my life.

I met my Christina before I actually met her because our daughters go to the same dance studio so we know the same dance moms. I briefly met “Christina” during recitals in June but didn’t really get to know her. I know that Danyella loved getting to know her daughter during our downtime backstage. I know that her daughter was trying out for elite but didn’t think much of it when I heard of the mom at auditions (Danyella was auditioning for the current Elite team during makeups).

Both of our girls made Elite, Danyella made Minis and the “Christina’s” daughter made the newly formed Petite team. From the time of boot camp, “Christina” and I hit it off and talked the entire time we were sitting in the studio. It was like we were the same person with how much we had in common. We parent our children the same way. We talk the same way. Yes, we both say curse words but what can you expect… We are Jersey Girls. We like the same things, especially our tv shows. Even our husbands are very much alike. We just are so much alike it was almost scary.

One weekend we were talking and I was saying how I was getting married on Monday (our last-minute wedding ceremony). In one little conversation, we found out “Christina” knew my step father, future in-laws and…… has known my husband for years! WTH…. I known the world seems small at times but this blew my mind. It was all to funny to me because all of these stories I told her about my boyfriend turned husband, turned out she knew him. I swear that revelation made us even closer friends.

Since we found all of this out, she has become my go to person to talk to about things going on in my life. When I need to vent about things going on in my life, I text “Christina”. When I need a shoulder to cry on because of a horrible message, I text “Christina”. Each time I thought I was going into labor, I text “Christina”. After Evelynne was born, I text “Christina” the photos of my baby girl. When “Christina’s” daughter is acting up, we talk about how our girls are cut out of the same cloth. At 6:30 in the morning, “Christina” checks on me to see how I am doing.

Today, I couldn’t imagine what my life would be like without “Christina” or what was my life like before our dance mom lives crossed paths. Our daughters are connected at the hip whenever possible and that is how we have become when we are together. She is the Auntie to Evelynne which Evie knows her voice like she knows mine.

I have had friends come and go in my life but “Christina” is one that will stay in my life. I am so grateful for the friendship we formed over coffee on Saturdays at the dance studio. I am grateful to feel like there is someone in the world that gets me. I am grateful for all the times she has given me a shoulder to cry on. I am grateful for all the laughs that we have had.  I am grateful for her talks that bring me out of my darkness or talks me off the cliff of doing something rash. I am grateful to have found my “Christina”.

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Finding Positivity During Hard Times

I thought with the birth of my little Evelynne on New Year’s Day, that 2018 was going to be a great year…. my year. Well the trials and tribulations have just continued into this new year. So a new year doesn’t always mean a new slate, it just means adjusting your perspective and approach to those hard times that plague your life.

I am starting off this new year with having to find a new home for my family due to circumstances out of my control as a renter. I am having to make a decision that is breaking my heart about my marriage because the trust has been broken between my husband and I. I am having to make a decision about to do about going back to work and whether I want or have the heart to put my precious baby into the care of someone else. These are all changes I was not expecting to deal with 18 days into 2018…. 18 days after my little baby was born.

I won’t lie or sugar coat this at all, I have cried and cried and cried but those tears were not getting what I needed done or helping my family. My other concern about my tears is falling into post partum depression which I experienced after my first baby. PPD is not something any mother wants or should have to deal with especially if being triggered by outside circumstances.

How am I keeping the positive during these hard times? I am working on my self care. This is something I have consciously work on or I can find myself just sitting and wallowing in my sorrows for hours.

This means I am making myself get up and shower. I am making myself read and listen to my positivity books when I am sitting to pump or feed the baby. Those moments when I get down, I make myself pull out my notebook and write positive things about myself and my life. Lastly, I let myself cry when I need to cry as long as it does hinder myself from doing things I need to do for my girls and myself. (Even as I am writing this post, tears are flowing because sometimes I need to let them out).

Life isn’t always the way we want it to be but we can’t let the negativity pull us down. As a mother, I need to have the strength to be the best I can be for my children. Yes, Times will be hard and times will be sad and times will be easy and times will be happy but no matter what the times are for you… always find the positive even if it means taking the extra time to do so.

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Thankful For The Good In Life #thankfulthursday

Thankful for

I want to start out by saying Happy Thanksgiving to everyone. Whether you are American and celebrate Thanksgiving or you are from another country and don’t celebrate this holiday, everyone has something to be thankful for today. What are you thankful for today?

Being Thanksgiving, I am thankful for so much good in my life. As stressful as life has been this past year or even in the past few months, there is so much to be thankful for in my life.

I am thankful for my husband that has had to deal with so much lately including a last-minute wedding.

I am thankful for my children who always keep me on my toes and teach me something new everyday.

I am thankful for my family who has been there to help and support us during this difficult pregnancy.

I am thankful for my friends who know that even if I disappear from the world, I appreciate everything they do and the encouraging words they always have for me.

I am thankful for so many things in my life that I can’t list them all but those are the most important ones today. What are you thankful for today?

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Thankful for my Loving Puppy

Thankfulfor my Puppy

We adopted our puppy Max in February after my miscarriage, not thinking that I would get pregnant just a few months later and have both a puppy and a baby in the house. Max is a Plott Hound mix that we adopted from our local animal shelter when he was just shy of 3 months old. His mom was rescued when she was pregnant from the south and brought to New Jersey to be cared for and deliver her pups.

Danyella had been asking for a dog for so long, but I always refused because I am not an animal person. I despise animal fur but I have come a long way with dealing with the fur since having a rabbit that shed for 2 years. One random day, Doug decided to stop by Common Sense for Animals and we both fell in love with Max. We took him home that moment without having any puppy supplies so we had to stop to get him the basics. I surprised Danyella, which I got on tape, by having Max in the car when she got out of school. She cried and held that puppy all the way home.

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Since we have brought him home, he has been the life of our house. Getting himself into trouble all the time but then giving you those sad, “I am sorry” eyes and kisses that make you feel bad for having to discipline him. He loves to bark at everything he sees outside though he is getting better at not barking at the neighbors and the school kids that walk by everyday. He loves to play with his “sissy” and follow his daddy around the house. Max has daddy wrapped around his paw because when Max wants to go out a million times through the night, he will go to Doug’s side of the bed and wake him up… he knows not to bother Mommy until morning. One smart dog!

Max is the bestest cuddler ever (as Danyella likes to say). He will jump at every chance to cuddle with Danyella, Doug or myself. As my belly has been growing, he tries to cuddle with it but Evelynne is not having it. She loves to kick and hit at his head when he lays next to it. With dealing with my anxiety and depression lately, I have been crying a lot lately. Max comes over to me when he sees me cry and places his paw on me and then snuggles right up to me. He does not like to see his Mommy cry at all.

Max has been such a comfort with his cuddles and kisses. As much as I say I am not an animal person, I am Max’ Mommy which is the best thing to be. I couldn’t image our family without Max, even in his bad moments. Do you have a pet that you love like a child?

 

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Thankful for My Shower #thankfulthursday

Thankful for MyShower

It is Thankful Thursday and as a pregnant mom, I am Thankful for my shower! Yes, you read that right…. My Shower! My shower time is where I get my mommy time right now. It is my happy place! Do you have a happy place?

My shower time started when I was pregnant with Danyella and was told no baths and no standing for more than 5 minutes in the shower. So, I began to sit in the shower so I could enjoy the steam and water for more then a few minutes. The water dripping on me was like being outside in the rain. Sometimes we need to just feel that peace and be one with the water. This continued after Danyella was born because it became a place where I could almost meditate, relax and clear my mind.

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Being pregnant with Baby Evelynne has been uncomfortable between the ongoing morning sickness, growing belly and having a baby pushing against my ribs. Add that to just the stress of needing to move, starting school and being out of work. My shower time is my sanctuary. There are times where I can just sit for an hour or more. The times where I need to take a quick shower, they just suck the life out of the moment of getting out of the shower. Like it is unfinished business that I need to take care of still. My hour-long shower times will be cut shorter after the baby comes but until then I will be enjoying my shower times.

What are you thankful for today?

 

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Finding Ways to be Thankful

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Today is #thankfulthursday and I am not going to lie, I have had a hard time coming up with one thing that I am thankful for. Part of this is because some of the things make me feel materialistic and other things feel like given things in life.

Yes, everyone is thankful for the basics in life like food, water, shelter and clothing. Thing is, there was a time in my life where I was living in my car and lived in a homeless shelter. There is a time where I was trying to come up with change just to find money for food. If you look in my drawers, most of my clothes are from 10 or more years ago, from thrift stores or cheap clothing from Walmart. At least I have clothing to wear right now.

Lately, things feel like they have been going in opposite direction that I want which can be so frustrating and makes it hard to find the things to thank the universe or your Higher Power for. Sometimes, you need to step back and remember the basics in life and that the rest is just an added bonus.

My housing situation isn’t ideal right now but at least we have a place to live that allows us to keep our special puppy. We need to move and finding a place that will fit our family and puppy has been the most difficult thing in the world. I wish we had the money to buy the house we are living in or another house but it is a very difficult option right now. All we can do is to continue to look and the right place will find us.

Holding to a meal budget has been such a difficult thing for my entire adult life. I will make a list, purchase what is on the list (online grocery shopping has made this so much easier), stand at the fridge or cabinet and struggle to find something to make or eat. So then I blow the budge out of the water because I end up getting takeout somewhere. I need to learn how to stick to a meal plan, meal budget and learn to be creative with the food I buy because there was a time when I didn’t get a choice of what I ate. I need to be thankful for any and all food and not be so damn picky.

I went from having a job that I could afford to buy my first Coach purse and Jimmy Choo shoes. High end clothing, handbags and shoes was my life over 15 years ago but that all changed in an instant. Don’t get me wrong, I would love to be able to afford those luxury items again but they don’t make my world go round now. I have always been one to shop at consignment and thrift stores which I have found some amazing deals.

I have 2 specific claim to fame for my finds… My first amazing find was a vintage knee-length wool coat that zipped up the left side and had a corset-type ribbon back. My words can’t even describe who gorgeous this coat looked but someone stopped me on the streets of SOHO New York and offered to buy the coat off my back for a client of his (he was a personal stylist). As tempting as the offer was, I cherished that coat and declined. Unfortunately, when I became homeless I lost the coat. My second claim to fame was finding a BRAND NEW WITH TAGS Baby Dior outfit at a Salvation Army store for Danyella. Now when I found this outfit, it was before I even knew she was a girl but I couldn’t resist not buying this amazing outfit and thankfully she was a girl!

Since the only decent, affordable consignment shops (yes there are ones that are way overpriced for used clothing!) are a bit of a drive for me, my options have been limited especially since getting pregnant. I know that there is online shopping but I still prefer to go to a store and try clothes on so I know that they fit right. My go to is either Target or Walmart which sometimes you can feel the (lack of) quality that you are buying with cheap clothing. One good deal I have found at Walmart has been these super-soft, stretchy shirts for $5 for a short sleeve shirt. They had them in basic navy, black, maroon and olive-green colors which I bought XL in each size because they are large enough to cover my growing belly. I was super, super excited to find them in long sleeve (only $6.88) in some Halloween prints and other solid colors which I bought in 1XL and 2XL to keep me going while my belly grows. I wish I could afford the adorable pregnancy clothing on the market but it really isn’t an option when you are out of work for most of your pregnancy so I am sticking to these comfortable, affordable shirts and leggings.

Sometimes we take the basic things in our life for granted when we need to step back and be thankful for these necessities because life could be worse one day or you could have worked your way up from a situation that is worse than it is right now.

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